USDA Creates New “Food Pyramid” Symbol Called My Plate

The USDA has created a new replacement symbol for the classic food pyramid – it is called “My Plate”.  My Plate is the federal government’s new, simple symbol for what a healthy and nutritious American diet should look like according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

My Plate is designed to be a simple, easy guideline for every American to help them understand what a healthy meal should look like.  The new image has had a positive reception, with people saying it is more useful and accurate than the previous food pyramid. 

Tom Vilsack, Secretary of the U.S Department of Agriculture called it, “a clear and unmistakable message about what should be on the American plate.”

My Plate is a clear logo that focuses on vegetables, grains and fruits, showing limited protein and dairy portions.  The protein portion accounts for less than a quarter of the plate, while the dairy portion is a small circle removed from the main plate which represents a glass of low-fat milk or cup of yogurt.

Alice Lichtenstein, a professor of nutrition science and policy at Tufts University's believes that the new plate symbol will be easier for older adults to comprehend.  She says, “I hope [older Americans] will take it to heart because I think it will make a difference in their quality of life and in keeping them feeling good.”

The new plate replaces the 2005 MyPyramid which was widely criticized by nutrition experts and considered confusing. The symbol was heavily influenced by food industry lobbying.  The 2005 version used colored vertical strips to represent the various food groups and clear portion recommendations were lacking. 

For a increased longevity, follow these dietary suggestions and eat smaller portions, drink water instead of sugary drinks, monitor sodium intake closely and when consuming dairy, opt for the low-fat option.


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